Moves to establish common waiting lists could have positive financial implications for the NHS.

Assuming it is achieved, patients will no longer be able to shop around for the fundholder with the lowest waiting list or pester their GP until they are referred. Nor will fundholders be able to send their patients to the local quick-access private hospital. With the main reason for the NHS to use private hospitals removed, why should it use them at all? This should lead to a higher proportion of NHS money going to NHS providers.

Will patients have any way of getting seen earlier? Any health insurance company will be rubbing its hands with glee at the prospect of common waiting lists. The only way to shortcut the system is to go privately. There should be a dramatic increase in privately paid healthcare - for those who can afford it, of course... a tax via the back door for the NHS?

Tim Melville,

Contracts manager,

Dyfed Powys HA.